'Ace of Cakes' star shares cake decorating tips

August 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Palace Hotel in San Francisco is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and for a big birthday like that, of course you need a big cake! Who better to make it than Food Network star Duff from "Ace of Cakes" and Chef Jesse Llapitan of the Palace Hotel.

Ace of Cakes
Cake Decorating Tips for the Home Chef

Make sure you invest in the proper tools: Good pastry bags, tips, spatulas. A turn table is also extremely helpful.

Make sure you hold the pastry bag properly (live demo).

Always start with a clean, crumb free surface. A "Crumb Coat" of icing is essential.

Make sure your cake is cool before icing. Make sure your icing is at room temperature for icing the cake.

The icing consistency is important to the success of the decorating. Stiff Icing is needed for things that stand up or have height like roses. Medium icing is best for borders and flat details. Thin icing is best for writing.

Use a good balance of color and don't over color your icing.

Writing well on a cake takes a lot of practice with the pastry bag. Try writing on an edible surface like a piece of chocolate and then placing it on the cake. This way, if you make a mistake it is much easier to wipe off the chocolate than the icing on the cake itself.

Personalize the cake. Think of who the cake is for. This goes for the type of cake you bake as well as how it is decorated.

Less is more. A nice border and simple flowers or fruits make a beautiful presentation. Don't over do.

Allow yourself time to enjoy the process. Cake decorating is an art and very fun. Enjoy it! It will really show in the end result.

Be creative and have fun. If you aren't comfortable creating figures from marzipan, fondant or sugar- there are a lot of ready made products available for the home chef. Use of candies, store bought sugar accents or shaved chocolate can add a lot. While it is always better to have everything on the cake be edible, if you can't find what you want use try fresh flowers or toys and trinkets to personalize the cake.

More information about Duff Goldman can be found on his website, www.charmcitycakes.com

You can meet the Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman at

Palace Hotel Anniversary Party
Thursday August 27, 2009
5:00PM, The Garden Court
Join us as we welcome TV Food Network Chef Duff Goldman who has teamed up with our own culinary stars and pastry artists Chef Jesse Llapitan and Chef Russell Costa to create a 10 tiered edible masterpiece. Enjoy a piece of history and a piece of delicious anniversary cake and toast the Palace Hotel in style!

Palace Hotel 100 Year Anniversary Cake inspiration

The Palace 10 Tier Anniversary Cake represents one tier per decade in honor of our 100 Year Anniversary. The inspiration comes from original elements of the hotel from the 1909 reopening:

  • The First Tier was inspired by the 1909 vintage Austrian Crystal chandeliers
  • The Second Tier was inspired by the shield work in Maxfield's
  • The Third Tier was inspired by the rare wood work
  • The Fourth Tier was inspired by the dome stained glass ceiling in The Garden Court
  • The Fifth Tier was inspired by the Garden Court Entrance
  • The Sixth Tier was inspired by the Pied Piper of Hamlin
  • The Seventh Tier was inspired by the Garden Courts Filigree & Plaster work
  • The Eighth Tier is also part of the Garden Courts corners of the Rooms Decoration
  • The Ninth Tier was inspired by the Gardens Courts Columns
  • The Tenth Tier was inspired by the Upholstery in Maxfield's

What does it take to make The Palace Hotel ten tiered Anniversarycake?

  • 129.5 pounds of Chocolate
  • 115.5 pounds of Butter
  • 106.75 pounds of Sugar
  • 301 Eggs
  • 7 pounds, 7 oz of Coco Butter
  • 35 pounds of Sour Cream
  • 1 pound, 8 oz of Salt
  • 29 pounds,15 oz of Cake Flour
  • 17.5 pounds of Water
  • 336 Egg Whites
  • 6 Vanilla Beans
  • 21 Gallons of Cream
  • 56 Sheets of Gold Leaf
  • TONS of talent and the amazing history of the Palace Hotel


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